A Collection Of Negro Traditional & Folk Songs with Sheet Music Lyrics & Commentaries - online book

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Hear dem Bells 1
All day I works in de cotton an* de corn, My feet and my hands are sore, Waiting for Gabriel to blow his horn, So I won't have to work any more.
Chorus Hear dem bells — oh, don't you hear dem bells? Dey's ringing out de glory of de dawn. Hear dem bells — oh, don't you hear dem bells? Dey's ringing out de glory of de dawn.
I sings an' I shouts wid all my might To drive away de cold; An' de bells keep a-ringin' in de gospel light, Tell de story of de Lamb is told.
I goes to church in de early morn, De birds all a-settin' in de tree, Sometimes my clothes gets very much worn, 'Case I wear dem out at de knee.
The darky in the song fragment sent me by Mrs. Cammilla Brea-zeale, of Louisiana, was evidently in a mournful and resentful mood. His razor sounds alarmingly bellicose.
Workin' on de levee,
Yes, I am, Wid my razor in my hand. Don't love nobody —
Nobody loves me.
The Negro is considered to be temperamentally indifferent to the value of time, evidently feeling with Browning that time is for dogs and apes — and, he might add, white folks. Ee has eternity. Yet he on occasion feels a sense of the importance of passing hours, as in the stanza given by Betty Jones (through the courtesy of Profes­sor J. C. Metcalfe, of the University of Virginia), where he looks at his watch — the sun.
Look at the sun, See how he run — God Almighty'll catch you With your work undone!

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III